Low crisis awareness and unresolved climate challenges

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We live in uncertain times COVID-19. We take care of each other! The authorities must lead and govern with an element of uncertainty. But the available updated and practiced contingency plans are not enough. Neither in United States, the Bellarus, the EU, the Sweden, the Denmark or Norway.

If you did not know this beforehand, COVID-19 reveals that the world community is in crisis. Global threats such as climate and biodiversity are being repressed in these months. Of a pandemic which is not under control and which socially affects all people immediately.

In the book Strategic leadership in crisis and war the reader is introduced to the Norwegian crisis management system, which is also active under COVID-19. The organized state security or societal security that is at the heart of the book could potentially be threatened.

But at the same time, a larger and different crisis than a crisis for state security is pressing on. Crisis awareness is low – because the climate challenge is not problematized in the book.

A new global security regime

In 24 chapters, the book illuminates Sstrategic leadership in crisis and war many aspects of the total defense – predominantly with a focus on the roles of the defense and the police – which must ensure the cohesion of society. It is defined as follows: “Society's ability to protect itself against and deal with incidents that threaten fundamental values ​​and functions and endanger life and health. Such events can be triggered by nature, be a result of technical or human errors or deliberate actions ».

The book thus describes the Norwegian emergency preparedness culture that must secure the future of state power with its entire – more or less – visible apparatus of violence, which is available as a monopoly.

From a state security point of view, the threat from climate activists is mentioned in the book as one
likely future threat.

The concept of state security implies a safeguarding of the state's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political freedom of action. Within this, there is always some development with organizational structures, divisions of responsibilities and legislative regulations. A development that can be traced all the way back to the colonial era. At the same time, economic globalization with its institutions (World Bank, WTO, IMF, OECD, etc.) has long since disrupted the national framework for dealing with complex events.

With the fall of the Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the organization of state security underwent a shift. This happened in Norway with the Vulnerability Report (1999) under the leadership of former Prime Minister Kåre Willoch. With 9-11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and under the influence of terrorist acts in London and Madrid, a new type of crisis management was subsequently further developed. Norway was placed in a new global security regime.

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

Duty to act

The book highlights Denmark for having – in addition to the common crisis management principles responsibility, proximity, equality and cooperation – a principle of duty to act. The principle implies that in a situation of great uncertainty, it is best to intervene with increased preparedness. If it then turns out that the priority has been too high, the authorities can subsequently simply adjust.

A global civil society is further developing on themes of «the good life» and a number of social movements are beginning to manifest themselves again, not least in relation to economic growth and climate. From a state security point of view, the threat from climate activists is mentioned in the book as a probable future threat.

According to the book, the vulnerability of an increasingly complex world necessitates an identification of gray areas and of the significant uncertainty surrounding digitalisation in conflict management. At the same time, civilians are increasingly being drawn into the total defense. And this is happening at the same time as the book sees a clear tendency for the Armed Forces' involvement in crisis management to be expanded and made differently flexible than hitherto. The period of growth after World War II with the "Washington Consensus" and under NATO's umbrella of security has definitely come to an end – with new varying epicenters challenging crisis management in a polycentric world.

What about the oil?

As far back as 1978, the oil company Exxon knew about climate change and that global warming could have serious consequences in 5-10 years. In 1988 – the same year that the UN Climate Panel began its work – James Hansen, NASA, presented to the US Senate a research report showing that global warming is due to the greenhouse effect. World leaders agreed that something had to be done – one more ambitious than the other – in the light of research findings on CO2 emissions.

The oil companies thought so too. But their plan was to sow doubt about the science behind climate change. The industry organization American Petroleum Institute (API) – with i.a. the oil company Exxon as a sponsor – was chosen to lead a campaign. The campaign has now proven to have affected the world forever. It appears from the documentary The campaign against the climate (shown on DR TV in August 2020).

The coming disaster

Today, we know that the oil companies and their communications experts have succeeded in postponing the global community's climate action for decades. During that period, many significant technological innovations for the development of renewable energy sources could have been made. According to Professor Naomi Oreskes, Harvard University, 60-90% of energy today could have come from renewable energy and the world would otherwise have looked different.

As an oil-producing nation, Norway ignores the recommendations that oil should remain in the ground. By not following the recommendations, Norway is contributing to the coming disaster. And here the Norwegian system for crisis management will prove inadequate and build on assumptions from the past.

Today, great attention is paid to national awareness and isolated social security, where the nation state is at the same time supported by NATO's security regime. – It is of course legal to publish a book with a Norwegian model for crisis management. But should not every crisis management model raise awareness of our common biosphere and of the UN slogan of the 1992 Rio Conference: "Think globally, act locally"?

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